by Nathan Perry
Five years ago, a group of students dedicated to the idea of film and community came together to form Filmgate. Now they wish to extend this community to the rest of Cedarville.
Since its inception in 2011, Filmgate has been available to students of all majors who wish to take part in filmmaking.
Professor Jeff Simon advises the community, with students Jacob McDonald and Jared Smith arranging and organizing all projects.
Filmgate has two goals for its members. The first is to create a community of filmmakers accessible by anyone on campus. The second is to train its members to be professionals.
“One purpose of Filmgate is to give students more potential in Cedarville,” Smith said. “Filmgate is to be a resource for the Cedarville community.”
A Community of Professional Filmmakers
Students who join Filmgate are not only taught how to work in a production environment, but are trained in all aspects of film creation from beginning to end.
Filmgate has three meeting times each week. Mondays at 6 p.m. is the all-member scheduling meeting, Wednesdays at 5 p.m. is McDonalds’s pre-production session, and Fridays at 11 a.m. are Smith and Professor Simon’s post-production slot.
During these meetings, most of the week’s work is planned, preparing members for the structure and organization that a professional career in film would have.
Meetings such as the weekly pre-production session, are meant to help students understand what a production requires.
McDonald said the purpose of the meeting is “…making sure that we have the equipment, the time, the budget and the people – especially the people – to ensure that the production phase goes swimmingly. We do our best to keep communicating with our members, making sure they know what needs to happen next.”
Members of the organization are also focused on expanding their community to include members from any major or department, not only Communications.
“When you go on film sets there are so many [different] people involved,” Smith said. “That’s what our film sets need to be like. That’s what you should be learning in college.”
Currently Filmgate has two non-communications majors with significant roles. Geology major, Erica Loughner, is head of set design, and allied health major, Lauren Jacobs, acted as Assistant Director during this year’s recording of ‘Sing, Dance, Laugh’.
Building an Inter-Organization Network
Filmgate is focusing many of its efforts this semester to collaborating with other student organizations on campus.
Members of the community have been in contact with members of IBC, DTR, The Inversions, and other student-led programs to provide film and video services where needed, such as promotional videos and event recordings.
DTR, the campus comedy org, has been working with Filmgate since the beginning of the year to film shows and create skit videos. Their short film, “The Bachelor: Cedarville” aired during this year’s ‘Sing, Dance, Laugh’ program, which Filmgate also filmed live.
“Teaming up with other orgs to get more work and more opportunities, get more people noticing us, that’s one step to getting there,” Smith said. “I want us to be an org that does things, that starts pushing what we do to have quality.”
According to McDonald and Smith, the goal of these collaborations is to make Filmgate a place where students from any major or organization across campus could propose film ideas and have access to a professionally trained community willing to help them.
Besides its collaborative projects, Filmgate has plenty of projects that it runs to keep members involved and learning throughout the year.
This year, Filmgate has taken on the task of interviewing the professors in the Communications Department. These have resulted in multiple “Meet the Professor” style clips for prospective students to view online.
In addition to promotional work, Filmgate is also working on three short films. The first film is a dialogue-focused piece. The second, a mockumentary named West-dependence about West Hall’s obscurity.
The final film is a twenty-minute picture called Second Star to the Right. It is Filmgate’s largest production and has taken nearly two years to complete.
These projects are designed to create a steady workflow within Filmgate’s community, train members how to work in a professional atmosphere and push them to see each project to the end.
“A lot of the overall picture that we have for this semester is making sure that we’re not just working,” says McDonald “but [also] that we’re getting things accomplished.”
The Filmgate Vision
Collaboration with other organizations and the addition of new members are only the start for Filmgate.
The largest project Filmgate has engaged in is to become further integrated into Cedarville culture.
Since McDonald and Smith have taken responsibility of the community, they have opened Filmgate’s services up to the entirety of campus.
Whether that means producing promotion work, lending members to assist in a production, or recording an event, Filmgate hopes to involve more students in their community of filmmakers and be a resource students can use to accomplish their goals.
Nathan Perry is a sophomore broadcast major and a writer for Cedars. He loves writing music, telling stories, and eating Mexican food.